Tonight, I went to the premiere screening of the documentary film Café Nagler, directed by Mor Kaplansky. I enjoyed myself so much as I watched a tremendously surprising and humorous documentary about Berlin in the 1920s, made by a creative filmmaker who valiantly tries to recreate some of her family's story.
In order to please her grandmother, Naomi Kaplansky (veteran documentary filmmaker from Israel TV), the filmmaker embarks on a journey to Berlin to uncover as much as possible about her family's legendary café, where people danced late into the night, laughed, ate to their heart's content, and possibly did even more.
The Nagler family owned the cafe until 1925 and then immigrated to Palestine where they built a large and beautiful home that can still be seen in Haifa today. One of the things so fascinating in this film is how the filmmaker goes about trying to find clues about her family during the Berlin period -- how she does her research, the quirky people she interviews and the archival material that she finds.
What defines a documentary film? How should a documentary filmmaker go about finding clues as to what might have happened in the past and who is to stay what is true memory? This film, made with charm and immense creativity, tells the story of one particular Jewish family. It is also about issues of memory and a fair amount of fantasy.
Café Nagler (documentary, 59 minutes) is available from Go2Films.